Long-term change in incidence and risk factors of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in Crete, Greece: a 25-year study

Authors Spyridon A. Karageorgos, Soultana Stratakou, Mairi Koulentaki, Argyro Voumvouraki, Aikaterini Mantaka, Dimitrios Samonakis, George Notas, Elias A. Kouroumalis.


Background No sequential long-term data exist for Greece on the etiological evolution and incidence of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Therefore, we studied their etiological evolution over a period of 25 years in the island of Crete.

Methods We studied 812 cases of cirrhosis (561 male, median age 69 years) and 321 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (234 male, median age 70 years) from the database of our Center. Cases were classified into five-year periods according to incidence and etiology (hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcohol, alcohol plus viral, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).

Results Overall, there was an increase in the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma. A significant fourfold reduction in the incidence of hepatitis C-related cirrhosis was observed, which was degraded from first to third place as a risk factor for cirrhosis. Alcohol gradually became the first risk factor in cirrhosis (1990-94: 36.1%, 2010-14: 52.3%) and carcinoma, while the steepest increase in incidence of cirrhosis and carcinoma was associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Conclusions The incidence of cirrhosis remained constant over the years, but the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma increased during the last decade. Risk factors for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma have changed over the past 25 years in Crete. The initial high hepatitis C virus association has significantly decreased, with alcohol now ranking first among risk factors. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is continually increasing and is a prominent risk factor for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Keywords Hepatocellular carcinoma, cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, HCV, hepatocellular carcinoma

Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (3): 357-363

Original Articles